Friday, January 09, 2004

Article: BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Richer, stouter, and no happier

Now I like to think I'm an intellectual who's tolerant of opposing views, and calm in the vanguard of a school of thought I disagree with. Then I read this utter rubbish [stronger words were not used only for family-viewing reasons, and not due to any misplaced scruples on my part]. I despair. If someone agrees with any of the 95% of it that is total nonsense and wants to take it up with me, I'm happy to do that. Otherwise I'm just wasting the time I could be using to consume. I mean, I have high time pressures, and my quality of life will be reduced if I spend any more time writing about it. So I won't. Actually, there is one more thing to say: what the hell is going on with the BBC?! I thought yesterday's poorly-headtitled "teenage views on higher fees" article [and no, that wasn't the headline! Clever monkey] was a major disappointment, but it's high-class journalism compared to this tosh. Of course, this so-called Worldwatch Institute is entitled to its views, and is further entitled to disseminate them; the question is whether the BBC was right to present them the way they did, or even at all. There was absolutely no come-back from someone clever that much of it is possibly just wrong, or at least highly contentious, as they should do with all publications (the supposed BBC ideal of neutrality should have made this obvious, I would've thought). But further, why publish the work of a clearly biased institute, and present it as some highly academic study with its findings absolute truths? Even an academic paper wouldn't get that privilege. Next they'll publish a report by the IHR showing the Holocaust didn't happen, and asking why the Jews are complaining so much. Of course, the headline would be "Jews mislead world over Holocaust incident: Alan Yentob suspended during investigation into Jewish background". I'm actually worried this isn't as unlikely as it seems at first. ARGH! Get rid of the licence fee already! Crying out loud.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Article: BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Fees message lost on teenagers

Of course, when a media organisation at last decides to actually talk to the people a new policy will affect, instead of just staring at their own navels whilst "analysing" the political fallout, they have to be patronising. So when the BBC talked to a couple of smart 16-year-olds [actually, first point of contention: why make a conclusion only from talking to two people, as was done in this article? There was no survey done to back it up. Poor. And then to use it as a headline? Inexcusable, if unsurprising] who basically said that higher fees wouldn't put them off going to university, even though they are poor (in other words, they had each just given a counter-example to one of the anti-fees movement's loudest complaints, which is that working-class youths are too stupid to work out whether taking on a debt is worth it or not [you'd be surprised, if you're not from the UK, how much middle-class people undervalue working-class people, although of course they dress it up as liberal concern]), what do the BBC decide to use as a headlline? "Fees message lost on teenagers". Yes, ladies and gentlemen! We have here two teenagers, (one more than necessary to prove our point, as they're all the same!), who, as you suspected, are too pig-ignorant to understand what the hell is going on concerning fees! This shows all teenagers are too stupid to do anything! Why don't we make everything free, if only so they don't get confused? Of course, that way, it'll be too expensive to have too many university places, so these peasants won't marry our young Charlotte or Edward. Once you read the article, you realise it's not quite like that (although there are numerous blatant "out-of-context quotings" and "angles")... but from just reading the headline, most people will be misled. And the BBC's not supposed to stand for that. The article itself is a little biased, but no more than I'd have expected, so I won't rant about it. [Sigh]. At least they ran the piece, I guess.

Monday, January 05, 2004


Clich´┐Ż alert! The weird and wonderful FLY GUY... the first term that comes up when you search for "guy" in Google. [Many thanks to Peter for finding out! Although I had to have the courage to click, he was the first to think of searching for such a common (but great) term].

Newsnight goodness

I'm so glad I signed up for the Newsnight newsletter! As well as offering moderately interesting background information on what the programme's going to cover that evening, it also has some of the best jokes the internet has ever published. As befits a current-affairs programme, it's usually in the vanguard of any joke trend, publishing just-composed humour as it happens. Excellent USP. Re-pubished below by me is the Joke Extract from today's newsletter [the second one, of course.. the first one was actually the last one of 2003 mistakenly (I assume) sent again, in case you didn't understand what's going on]: So here is a list that caught our fancy from the Washington Post's Style section. They asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some of the winners: Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realise it was your money to start with. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (this one got extra credit) [whatever that means! It is the funniest one, along with the next one] Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer. Glibido: All talk and no action. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. And, the pick of the bunch, which possibly gets us back to the subject of Rumpology: Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a******e [I added an asterisk because I'm sure Gavin Esler underestimated how many letters are in the actual word. Unless he's some expert in blasphemies and he was referring to a more obscure swear-word than the obvious one]. The author of all this excellence: <-- Mr. Gavin Esler! Possibly Esq. Totally underrated by the British public. Paxman should be quaking in his boots. More than usual.

Digital Spy - DS Awards 2003: winners announced!

Well, how about this then? The Digital Spy 2003 Awards! Based as they are on the very democratic principle of asking its readers what they liked. My favourite media website just increased its standing in my view.